The Family Law Act 1975 is the major of piece of legislation which governs the operation of family law in Australia. Obviously, it was enacted in 1975. The impetus for the legislation actually came from the late Lionel Murphy and his drive to implement a new system of family law in Australia. When the family law act first came in it was a major reform because it made it much easier to get a divorce owing to the fact that there was not a requirement to prove adultery anymore and it was now possible to get a ‘no fault’ divorce. This led to a very large number of divorces in 1976 and then a generally higher rate of divorce in the general population. In Australia today, divorce now occurs in approximately 50% of marriages. The new piece of legislation also instituted the system of property division and parenting orders.
Property division is the process which a court applies when a couple breaks up to determine which parties are entitled to which assets as a result of the break down of the relationship. The act is constructed to created a system where consent is much preferred. However, if consent not able to be achieved then the court uses a process which is established in the family law act to decide on the division of assets. There are a series of considerations which are used. The first is the existing assets of the relationship. This includes property, shares, superannuation, bank accounts, mutual funds and personal possessions. The court then examines the contributions of each party to the relationship which can be financial or non-financial. The next consideration is the future needs of the parties. This is determined by looking at factors such as the age and the state of health of the parties and their future earning capacity. The court can then alter the settlement for any reason it believes is just and equitable in the circumstances.
The second major aspect of the family law act is the provisions relating to parenting orders. The paramount consideration in relation to parenting orders is the best interests of the children affected by the parenting orders. There is an assumption that equal shared parental responsibility is in the best interests of the children, but this presumption can be rebutted if it can be shown that there is some undesirable aspect of one of the parent’s lifestyle. If you have a question about a family law issue and would like to discuss this with a lawyer, we have lawyers available online now to answer your questions. Simply send your query to us and we will answer you in a few minutes.